January 12, 2021
As some of you may know, I am a Reserve Sheriff Deputy and School Marshal for the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office in Northern Colorado. This presents American Church Group of the Dakotas with amazing opportunities to access world-class training that is available to active members of law enforcement. On behalf of our agency, I recently participated in one such training which focused on strategies and tactics for responding as a single officer to an active safety threat in a school building.
The lead instructor for this intensive training was Arvada Police Deputy Chief AJ DeAndrea. Deputy Chief DeAndrea is arguably one of the leading experts in active threat response, having served as an entry team leader at Columbine High School in 1999, Platte Canyon High School in 2006, and at the Youth With A Mission (YWAM) shooting in 2007. After hearing Deputy Chief DeAndrea describe in vivid detail the responses to these events, I was struck by how much law enforcement’s policies, procedures, and training was shaped by the successes and, quite frankly, failures of past incidents. It’s clear law enforcement’s response has to evolve to keep up with emerging threats, but so must specific tactics in order to try to stop future attacks.
The same thoughtful evolution can be applied to our Christian schools. The first step is to objectively see your vulnerabilities in order to know how to evolve.
Below are three potential vulnerabilities that you may wish to consider when reviewing your school safety plan:
Additionally, while students are typically monitored for potential warning signs, it may also be a good idea to watch for threatening words or behaviors from parents, staff, or other individuals in your community. What may appear to be a transient threat, may turn into something more substantive. Be sure to document it and report it in accordance with your school’s safety protocols.
One of the most popular trainings we offer is a De-Escalation and Tactical Communication course. This 3-hour training incorporates many of the de-escalation tactics law enforcement agencies teach their officers. From identifying potentially volatile situations to scenario-based role-playing in situations where incidents are likely to occur, this unique experience is very hands-on and empowering for staff, volunteers, and security team members. A side benefit of this training is that it is completely transferable to any environment in which you may find yourself facing a potentially threatening situation. Would you like to know more about how we can set up a training for your organization? Click here.
Many schools that have safety plans run simulated drills to test those plans, but you may want to consider conducting those drills under varying conditions to thoroughly test the effectiveness of your plan. For example, we recently conducted an active threat response training at a school and intentionally timed the simulated attack to occur during the lunch hour for the following reasons:
If you haven’t evaluated your school safety plan under varying conditions, you may want to consider doing so. We would be happy to help you design such drills to fit the characteristics of your school.
We know that, as administrators and teachers, you bear the immense responsibility of educating and developing the faith of our children. That is a noble and Spirit-led calling. We are sincerely grateful for your willingness to not only teach our children, but to protect them from harm. Thank you for all that you do.
We want you to know that as you navigate the uncertainties of this world, American Church Group of the Dakotas is here to help support you in any way that we can. If you would like to learn more about some of the specific safety training and resources available to you, please feel free to contact me at CCable@AmericanChurchGroup.com or 303-590-9657.
Most ministry leaders don’t realize there is funding available to non-profit employers including churches, schools, colleges, and camps. This post includes some highlights about the credit and guidance on where to start to see if your ministry is eligible.
If your church is anything like mine, Vacation Bible School (VBS) is a big deal. Not just because it is central to our ministry’s outreach to young families, but because of the important role that VBS plays in the spiritual formation of children.
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Though child abuse may not be something you could ever imagine happening within your ministry, sexual abuse of a minor is one of the top five reasons churches end up in court, according to Church Law & Tax. Studies also show that a child is much more likely to be sexually abused by a trusted adult than a stranger.
When severe storms strike, they can produce high winds and tornadoes. Damaging winds can wreak havoc on your ministry’s property and to buildings. A high wind event can crash debris through your windows, strip your siding, down trees on your parking lot, peel shingles off your roof, and fling back the flashing.
Thieves are taking advantage of soaring precious metal prices. Take steps to protect your ministry’s vehicles and property.
As the Director of Ministry Safety for our agency, I am dedicated to finding ways to help safeguard ministries like yours.
As temperatures plummet, the risk of freezing pipes soars. Frozen pipes can cause costly messes that could also put your ministry on hold while you clean up.
On behalf of our agency, I recently participated in one such training which focused on strategies and tactics for responding as a single officer to an active safety threat in a school building.
If you’re anything like me (and maybe the rest of the world for that matter), you’re grateful to put the craziness of the past year behind us.
Preparing for this Christmas season may require additional creativity, due to the uncertainty of what COVID-19 may bring in our local community.
A mid-November deadline in the Boy Scouts of America’s (BSA) bankruptcy proceedings may have you wondering what the organization’s bankruptcy filing means for your ministry if you ever hosted or chartered Boy Scout Troops.
Organizations that obtained Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding through the CARES Act can have their loans forgiven, turning them into grants. To qualify, each borrower must file a forgiveness application with its PPP lender, proving that it followed the rules. If your church, school, college, or camp meets all the criteria, 100% of its loan can be forgiven.
Ministries are creatively scrambling to continue their operations and safely engage their congregations with an array of online technologies during the coronavirus pandemic. Unfortunately, hackers are ready to take advantage of the confusion with scams designed to steal valuable data or siphon funds from your ministry.
Learn about the CARES Act and two loans for which ministries may be eligible, since Congress authorized additional funding April 23.
As concern over the dangers associated with the spread of a new coronavirus, COVID-19, spreads, our agency and Brotherhood Mutual want to keep you informed and provide best practices for managing the spread of this and similar illnesses at your ministry.
The first Sunday in February is a big day for sports fans. In fact, many Americans view Super Bowl Sunday as a national holiday. Friends and families will gather this year to watch the big game, enjoy delicious snacks, and of course, critique the commercials that go along with game day.
Recently, we learned about two major overseas incidents involving pastors on mission trips. The first incident involved a pastor being hit by a motorcycle while running. The second was a bus accident involving two pastors. The runner and one of the two bus passengers sustained extensive injuries.
If your ministry buildings were damaged as a result of these tornadoes, or if you plan on sending ministry volunteers out to assist with disaster recovery, be mindful of the dangers involved.
Last month, the IRS announced that its initiating hundreds of church exams to test compliance with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). While many provisions only apply to churches with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees (FTEs), even smaller churches could potentially violate provisions applicable to health benefit plans with as few as 2 plan participants.
July 4th is synonymous with food, fun, and fireworks. If your church is planning an event this Independence Day, remember to keep a focus on safety, so that everyone can have fun.